another person who wants to be elected to rule the city of tempe. from this article she has been a life time government employee and would not have any problems switching to a government ruler. either way she has been a leach all her life and expected up citizens to pay her wages.

Ellis balances tradition, progressivism

Jahna Berry The Arizona Republic Feb. 11, 2006 12:00 AM

City Council candidate Shana Ellis strolled through her childhood south Tempe neighborhood looking for votes.

As the quiet street curved out of view, Ellis' campaign signs could be seen on many crisp lawns. The candidate seemed to know a family in every sprawling house.

If the neighbors don't know Ellis, they know her dad, Bob, the former KAET general manager who's lived in the same house since the 1970s.

That's former ASU President Russell Nelson's house. Ellis pointed. Former Tempe city attorney Brad Woodford lives there. The publisher of the Tempe Town News lives down the street.

When one woman opened the door, Ellis told the woman that she used to climb her back fence when she baby-sat the previous owner's kids.

"I saw you on TV the other night, you looked good," said neighbor Paul Blanc, a commercial printer.

Blanc said he's known Ellis' dad, Bob, for 25 years. "I admire you for being willing to do this."

For months, the 35-year-old Ellis has been working to expand her appeal beyond her childhood stamping grounds.

"This was the community that I was raised in," said Ellis of the area near Alameda Drive and Mill Avenue. "I am just so dedicated to it.

"I know it needs to grow and I feel like I have the balance between the traditions that already exist here but being young enough to be progressive about it."

Her resume of community services weighs in her favor, Ellis' supporters say.

Ellis is assistant director of Tempe Community Council, which has given her a deep knowledge of the city's disadvantaged residents. Ellis has worked there since was 15, starting out as a part-time office clerk.

She will leave her assistant director post Feb. 28. The council is a non-profit, funded mostly through city tax dollar grants and other funds.

Since it was founded in 1972, it has become the primary conduit for social services: It links disadvantaged residents with non-profits, and it funds non-profits that assist local residents.

The council is governed by a volunteer board, but the City Council has final say over its funding decisions.

Ellis decided to step down as assistant director because she says she could climb no higher at the non-profit and because she wants to eventually start her own business.

Ellis would be a strong councilwoman, said Tempe Union High School District governing board member Zita Johnson.

Johnson said she worked closely with Ellis when Johnson was a Community Council board member and when the pair served on the Tempe Human Relations Commission.

"I saw how she worked," Johnson said. "I saw how she could pull people together. She is a positive person with a level head who can think things through."

Ellis led the commission in 2000, during the time when the city was struggling with allegations of rampant discrimination within city employee ranks.

The commission ultimately pushed for the city to hire an independent auditor to probe the issue.

Last year,a federal jury awarded $2.4 millionto current and former Tempe public works workers who sued the city for discrimination.

"That was a pretty volatile situation," Johnson recalled of her time on the commission. "The issue was if discrimination exists in the different departments in our city. There were lots of people (that) didn't want that asked."

As Ellis, her dad, and her 12-year-old son, Kade, continued to canvass her old neighborhood, she paused.

"There are still some things I need to work on," said Ellis, a married mother of two. "I need to accept the fact that not everyone is going to vote for me," she said, laughing.

"That there are certain issues that I'm not going to agree with people on, that's life."

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